Edward Monroe Hudgens – Major, United States Air Force

Date of Birth: 9/6/1931
Date of Casualty: 3/21/1970
Home of Record: TULSA, OKLAHOMA
Branch of Service: AIR FORCE
Rank: MAJ
Casualty Country: LAOS
Casualty Province: LZ

My father’s remains were identified in 1995, and he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery 20 March 1996. A wreath was placed in his honor, by his children, 21 March 1996.

The plaque in Arizona is now, in my eyes, just a memorial plaque. My younger brother went to Laos, and also placed a memorial plaque at my father’s crash site.

My father died so that another pilot could be rescued–one of the largest efforts made for a rescue. I am very, very proud of my father, and he is so very missed.
Posted by: Stacy Hudgens

Remains of five American servicemen previously unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been identified and will be returned from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, to the USAF mortuary at Travis Air Force Base, California, on Wednesday, February 28, 1996. Burial dates will be determined by the families. Those identified are: Captain John E. Duffy, USAF, of Portland, Maine; Major Edward M. Hudgens, USAF, of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Lieutenant Commander Orland J. Pender, Jr., USN, of Atlanta, Georgia; Captain John R. Pitzen, USN, of Stacyville, Iowa; and Capt. Robert L. Sandner, USAF, of Clearwater, Florida.

Duffy was flying an O-2A on a visual reconnaissance mission over Quang Nai Province, South Vietnam on April 4, 1970. He experienced radio difficulty and contact was lost with his aircraft. The pilot of another reconnaissance aircraft in the area flew Duffy’s intended route in hopes of locating him, but was unsuccessful. A systematic search of the mission route was conducted over the next day, but failed to locate Duffy or his aircraft. His remains were recovered in May 1993 by a joint United States – Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) investigative team.

Hudgens was the pilot of an A-1J aircraft on a search and rescue mission March 21, 1970 over Laos with another aircraft. As he was pulling off his target, his aircraft was hit by intense ground fire and exploded. The aircraft went out of control and crashed. The flight leader did not observe a parachute or hear any beeper signals. His remains were recovered by United States – Laos joint teams in October 1994 and April 1995.

Pitzen and Pender were the crew of an F-4J from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk, escorting an A-6 on an attack mission north of Haiphong, North Vietnam on August 17, 1972. Capt. Pitzen was not in visual contact with the A-6 when he radioed for a course confirmation. Shortly thereafter, the A-6 pilot detected the launching of enemy surface-to-air missiles (SAMS) and was forced to take evasive maneuvers. He reported seeing one of the SAMS detonate, followed by a secondary explosion. The U.S.S. Kitty Hawk lost radio contact with Pitzen and Pender’s aircraft at approximately the same time. Electronic surveillance that day failed to locate the missing aircraft or crew. Their remains were recovered as group and individual remains in November 1994 by a joint U.S./SRV recovery team.

On June 7, 1966, Sandner was flying his A-1E on a direct air support mission in Kontum Province, South Vietnam near the Cambodian border. After completing two bombing passes, he made a strafing run on the target. His aircraft was observed as it climbed to 1,000 feet altitude, then nosed over and dove into the ground. No parachute was observed and no emergency beeper was monitored following the crash. A rescue attempt was by an Army helicopter immediately after the crash, but was unsuccessful due to the intensity of the fire at the crash site and the hostile activity in the area. His remains were recovered in April 1995 by a U.S. and Cambodian joint recovery team.

The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and the Kingdom of Cambodia that resulted in accounting for these Americans. We hope that such cooperation will bring increased results in the future. Achieving the fullest possible accounting for Americans is of the highest national priority.

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